Music and the New Global Culture: From the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age

Harry M Liebersohn

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This book explores music and globalization since the mid-nineteenth century. Its starting-point is the world’s fairs and other exhibitions that showed off foreign musicians and instruments to mass audiences in Europe and the United States; it ends with the worldwide embrace of new musical genres like tango and jazz. The book’s geographic focus is the Atlantic triad of Germany, Britain and the United States, but it traces the migration of non-Western music into these countries and the musical response to globalization in the metropolises of India and China and remote settlements from South America to the Arctic. The three parts of the book capture diverse dimensions of globalized musical culture: its overlap with the arts and crafts movement, scientific analysis of pitch and scales, and worldwide distribution through the phonograph. The cast of characters who made music global includes familiar names like Thomas Edison and Hermann von Helmholtz, but also A. J. Hipkins, a London piano tuner turned renowned scholar and advocate of musical diversity; Erich von Hornbostel, the refined Viennese who directed the first archive of world music; Nuskilusta, who toured Germany with a Native American music ensemble; and the Indian recording star, Gauhar Jaan. In dialogue with historians, musicologists and social theorists, the book concludes that the new global culture is not a novelty of our own time, but a long-established transformation of modern artistic and intellectual expression that still defines how we think, feel and hear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Print)9780226649276, 9780226621265
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Publication series

NameBig Issues in Music


  • intellectual history
  • Arts and Crafts movement
  • transnationalism
  • globalization
  • musicology
  • ethnomusicology
  • acoustics
  • phonograph industry
  • cultural brokers


Dive into the research topics of 'Music and the New Global Culture: From the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this